Want to study in the USA? Get our course on US College Admissions & Applications now.
Interside mobile menu

Leticia Murer de Souza, Claremont McKenna College: “Coming here was the best decision”

interstride logo by Interstride
October 14, 2023

Leticia Murer de Souza is a sophomore from Brazil at Claremont McKenna College (CMC). She’s passionate about problem-solving, communication, leadership, and still exploring her options for a major. When she’s not running around campus for classes and meetings, she loves to hike and spend time with her friends.

Hometown: Santa Maria, Brazil

High school: Military School of Santa Maria

College: Claremont McKenna College

Year: Sophomore, Class of 2026

Major: Undecided

Campus involvements:

  • Tour Guide and Front Desk Worker, CMC Admissions
  • Director of Off-Campus Programming, College Programming Board
  • Mentor, CMC’s International-Connect

Favorite CMC class: Race and Religion in Hollywood

Fun fact: I am a pro in planning trips

Why did you choose to study at CMC?

When I decided that I wanted to study in the US, I knew that I wanted to go to a liberal arts college and explore my options while I was getting my degree, since I wasn’t really sure of what I wanted to do. In Brazil, you have to declare a major before going to college, which always scared me.

I found a list of the top 10 liberal arts schools in the US and saw a picture of CMC. I thought it was pretty at first, but then I started doing research and the whole emphasis on leadership spoke a lot to me.

However, I was really uncertain about financial aid. I needed financial aid but didn’t know if CMC offered it to international students (now, I’m actually on a full-ride scholarship). I reached out to a Brazilian student at CMC through Instagram and let her know I was really interested in the school, but had a few questions. She replied in an hour or so, and offered to host a Zoom call for us to talk.

I remember finishing the call, and bawling my eyes out because I got so emotional. It was a different feeling that I never felt before – a sense of belonging.

That already showed me how embracing the CMC community is. When she was answering my questions about the school, it truly felt like she was talking about me. That was the moment I knew that this was my place. I remember finishing the call, and bawling my eyes out because I got so emotional. It was a different feeling that I never felt before – a sense of belonging.

What do you love about CMC?

Coming here was the best decision. I just love being here so much. Of course, no place is perfect, but this place makes me feel at home even though I’m 10,000 kilometers away from my actual home. It’s amazing how any problem that I have ever had here, people were always so willing to help me solve them. And when I say that, I mean everybody: students, staff, professors. Whenever I’ve had an issue, I would go to someone. If that person couldn’t help me, they would refer me to the person who could.

I don’t think that this is something that I ever got in any other place – feeling so embraced, feeling I can belong here, and everybody pushing you forward to success.

I don’t think that this is something that I ever got in any other place – feeling so embraced, feeling I can belong here, and everybody pushing you forward to success.

How important were internship & career outcomes when you were looking at schools?

To be honest (and this was my biggest mistake when applying for sure), I didn’t really think of that because I thought that being undecided meant being I didn’t need to worry about my career before figuring out what I wanted to pursue. I got really lucky for landing at CMC because our career services are so resourceful, so in the end everything worked out.

If I were to apply to CMC today, I would dive into learning more about the career resources because these play a big role in both your college experience and life after graduation.

If I could give one piece of advice to the students applying now, I would tell them to pay attention to career resources and outcomes, regardless of what they want to major or work in.

What are some of the student organizations you are involved in at CMC?

I work as the Director of Off-Campus Programming on our College Programming Board. In this position, I plan every step of off-campus events for our student body: from managing the budget to buying the tickets and taking people to the event. CPB is one of my favorite parts of the CMC experience because it allows the students to make new friends and live unforgettable experiences through free and fun programs.

Additionally, I am also a mentor for International-Connect (I-Connect), our mentorship for international first-year students. We are like a big family, and my co-mentor and I take our mentees to dinner, boba, and other fun bonding events that help foster a sense of community between international students. When you’re in a completely different country, very far from home, this type of community can be a very valuable resource when adapting to US college life.

What are some memorable on-campus jobs or internship experiences you’ve had?

I have a few on-campus jobs, but my favorite one has to be Tour Guide because talking to prospective students brings me a lot of fulfillment. Besides that, I had the opportunity to spend the summer in Italy making my own documentary through CMC’s Appel Fellowship. This is an opportunity for rising Sophomores and was extremely impactful as I was able to learn more about my grandfather’s village and live as a local there for a few weeks with some family members.

Why did you decide to join as an ambassador? 

I was part of the first class of people from my high school that ever applied to study abroad. When I got into CMC and two other girls got into other schools, that was something really new to everybody in our city – we were in the newspaper and TV. I’ve gotten used to receiving questions from people from my high school or my city about studying in the US.

I also volunteer in a mentorship program for Brazilian low-income students who want to study abroad. I had a mentee last year and she got into CMC. She is awesome, I’m so happy she’s here.

I love doing this type of work and I know how mentorship can be helpful for international students, especially the ones that don’t come from international schools, because it can be really hard to navigate through this whole process by yourself. When this opportunity to volunteer with Interstride came, I took it immediately.

What’s your experience so far as an ambassador? 

It’s a very unique way for prospective students to connect with us. It’s better for them to reach out to me through Interstride than through social media. I’ve been enjoying connecting with the prospective students. Recently I was asked about our Silicon Valley study away program, where students have a full-time internship – at companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla – and take two courses during the night.

What should prospective students ask you about? 

The thing I like to talk about the most is our community. It’s such a cliche, but you don’t get a community like this anywhere else. The people really push you forward. everybody wants you to succeed. The CMC community is truly special.

Students should also ask me about the Claremont Colleges consortium. It’s so unique, and a good resource for everything like friends, food – we can eat in the other dining halls – and other shared resources.